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so why are my peppers wilting?

Posted by daninthedirt 8b / HZ10 Cent. TX (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 18:25

My Gypsy peppers have been doing great, and have large peppers on them, just starting to turn red. But the plants are in trouble. Leaves wilting from top to bottom. No crawlies evident. You soak the plants, and they revive for a day, and then wilt again. Looks like a disease as all three of my plants are suffering from it, but they are RIGHT BESIDE (and probably with overlapping root systems) TAM Jalapenos, with Banana peppers nearby. None of those other peppers have any problems whatsoever.

Are Gypsy's susceptible to diseases that those others aren't?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

They seem to look good aside from the wilting. It might just be too hot.

Wait until the sun starts to go down (or goes down) and check on the plants. If they've perked up close to normal then it's just a heat stress reaction. If this is the case there's not much to be done about it except for shade cloth. It's generally harmless, by the way.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Well, it's 93F, and I've never seen responsibly watered peppers go south in that kind of heat. That's why I grow peppers throughout the summer. My toms, squash, and other peppers are doing dandy, BTW. Now, I've never grown Gypsys before, so maybe they're just weirdly sensitive. I've been growing peppers in this same bed for a decade, and never seen anything like this.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Water them real deep and good and see what happens at night. They should perk up. If they wilt too often then the soil is not holding enough moisture AND?OR the roots are too shallow.

Mulclh them real heavily with, hay, straw, pine straw, pine bark, or whatever is available in your area.

Pepper should take 94F real good. Unless the temps suddenly hiked from, say 70s to 90s.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Also, check the roots to see if anything is eating them.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Also, check the roots to see if anything is eating them.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Yes, I've tried all of those things, and they're still wilting. My mulch, BTW, is four inches of dried leaves. Now, again, these are right next to other peppers that are doing fine in the same soil. So it seems to be something about the variety. Now, I should say, my TAM-Js are left over from last year, so their roots may be deeper, but the Bananas right next to them were put in this year.

But yes, 94F for peppers should be no problem. If I'm looking for heat stress in my garden, peppers are the last place I'll look.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Susan, I actually pulled one plant that was looking pretty far gone, and the peppers on it were starting to shrivel. The roots looked OK.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Constant wilting is almost always a root problem. Yes. Some varieties wilt more than others during midday heat, but should always bounce back when temps subside.

Since you pulled a plant and the roots looked ok, I'd inspect the hole where it was. Do you get gophers?

Kevin


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

No gophers here. Not at all. When the sun got low, the plants recovered, but it is very very unusual to see peppers do that here. They'll crater tomorrow, I'm sure. All the same variety doing it. Smells like some disease to me, that only affects this variety. Maybe root rot? Overwatering? Of course, when plants wilt, the first thing you do is soak them. So it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy for these guys. Not clear why it's just this variety that is having problems.

I'll stop watering, and shade these guys. See if they recover.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

When I pull the plant, what am I looking for to identify root rot?

This post was edited by daninthedirt on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 23:12


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Browning or blackening and an otherwise "unhealthy" look.

You hit the nail on the head as far as wilting and then watering thing. Daytime wilt is OK. It's when they wilt when it's cool that there's a problem.

What's your watering regimen? Where I'm at(and I realize soils are different, so retention would differ), it's either mid 80's/low 90's and I give a deep soak about ever 8-10 days with an inch or 2 of mulch.

Heavy rains recently? I like your idea, however shading might just make the soil even stay wet longer. How about shading and pulling the mulch off/back for a few days? Maybe even scratch the soil a bit to get it to dry even quicker.

And I have read that the virus associated with root rot will move from one plant to the next though wet leaves, if that helps.

Good luck and keep us updated.

Kevin


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

I just checked on my Gypsy peppers. All of them look a little wilted. The ones I planted last year would look like that at the end of the day when it was hot. UV index plays a part, as does heat index.

Also are you using soaker hoses under the mulch? If not then note that dry leaves can act like sponge. You think you are watering enough, and less than what you though gets down to where it is needed.

If you are not using soakers then pull the mulch back when you water. Water till you see water standing. Wait a half hour then do it again. You would surprised to see the results. When I was younger my grampa would water twice in an hour during the heat of the summer. His gardens always looked great.

It would be worth a try before ripping out a good plant. Also check it in the morning at dawn, or shortly after sun up. If it looks wilted then try the watering I suggested. Then check them again the next morning. Grampa would always say to avoid checking plants in the heat of the day. It tends to lead to one trying to fix something that is not broken.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

That's a good point about pulling the leaves/mulch back when I water. They still are whole leaves, so in principle the water can just run off of them. Watering twice in an hour is an other good idea.

Early evening through mid-morning they look just fine. But mid afternoon they are seriously wilted. No discoloration of the leaves, just bottom to top wilting.

Again, what I find remarkable is that the problem is JUST for the Gypsy peppers, The Jalapenos and the Bananas are real troopers. If you're growing Gypsy peppers, maybe you know. Is that variety more heat sensitive than others? This is my first year growing that variety, so I have no experience with them. Perhaps their root systems are extraordinarily shallow?


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Not sure about "extraordinarily shallow." But it just may be a case of variety. I've noticed certain varieties wilt faster than others. e.g. Chile de Arbol wilts quicker than most of my other varieties.

All the more reason to not pay TOO much attention to midsummer daytime wilting when you've mulched and know they've been watered sufficiently.

Kevin


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

If it/they wilt in the middle of day and then perk up after the sun is down, then I would not worry. Today our weather was extraorinarily hot (~94F) Some of my peppers an few tomatoes were wilting. They all had been watered the same time 2 days ago. What I am saying is that some plants cannot take sun/heat as much as the other ones.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

I'd park an umbrella over them. Or a blanket between two boxes or something.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

My sweet peppers are in cages and I place a cover over the top of the cage when the sun is at its highest and hottest.

Gives them some relief and fends off the sunscald.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

OK, a progress (or non-progess) report.

I had three Gypsy pepper plants. Pulled the front one in the row last week because of the wilting. Now, after DEEP watering and shading for 24 hours, the middle one is totally wilted -- top to bottom uniformly. The fruit on it were starting to shrivel, so I picked them, and I'll pull that plant. The back one is interesting. Two main stems coming out of the ground on that one. The stem with fruit on it is totally wilted. I'll pull those fruit today. The other stem is curiously not wilted at all. In fact, it looks totally healthy. That stem has, so far, has borne no fruit, however.

You can see this all in the picture, as well as the stand of Jalapenos on the far left, which are totally unscathed. (Ignore the ripe Butternut squash under them! What a great year for those!)

So if it is a pepper disease, it is not only remarkable that the other pepper plants nearby are unaffected, it is absolutely bonkers that one stem on one plant is affected, and the other stem on the same plant is not.

I have to note that the plants/stems that are affected are precisely those that have fruit, all turning red. If I didn't know better, I'd say that the ripening fruit told the stem that it was done.

I need to carefully inspect the base of the wilted stems and see if there is any evidence for some insect doing excavation down there. That's how you could kill individual stems. We have no underground rodents, BTW.

I believe that this is the last time I'll be growing Gypsy peppers!
Something wrong with them, at least in my garden. In many many years and violently hot summers I have NEVER had any problems with peppers. Totally screwy.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

It's the heat. I have this exact same issue here in SoCal. Buy a cheap white linen sheet and make a makeshift umbrella for them.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

No it's not the heat. If it were the heat, all stems on the Gypsy plants would be responding the same way. They aren't.

For goodness sake, it's only 90F here, and when they were terminally wilted this morning, it was 75F.

Are you saying that Gypsy peppers are severely heat-intolerant, unlike every other vairety of pepper?


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

OK, I pulled another plant. I inspected the lower stem carefully. No sign of insect excavation. The root ball is 6-7 inches in diameter (this for a 2 foot tall plant). No obvious problems. If the root is rotting, it sure isn't evident looking at the root ball.

Now, they grew fine until it got warm. I mean 95F max. Peppers LOVE those temps.

I'm stumped. Must be some disease that affects these Gypsy peppers and not others.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

How weird ! Is it possible that a seed can be just not "robust"? Some kind of DNA defect thing?


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

OK, after losing all my gypsy peppers, I'm now seeing the same symptoms on a Banana pepper plant. Curiously, in between those varieties is a stand of TAM jalapenos, which seem unaffected.

I'm beginning to suspect some blight, perhaps phytophthora, to which TAM jalapenos are known to have some resistance. There is no consumer chemical treatment, but deep digging is considered to be a way to prevent it, as the spores don't survive when buried more than 6 inches. Perhaps not coincidentally, this area of my garden has seen minimal deep digging, as the TAMs and the bananas as well are hold-overs from last year. The soil compaction may have interfered somewhat with drainage, and poor drainage is a good way to get this problem.

Blights seem to be a really good reason to dig your garden deep. So much for small tillers.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

I have the same pepper wilt problem every year. Not sure of the cause, but do know that it is terminal. So I've dealt with it by seeding peppers in early June for transplant into the garden as replacements to those plants that succumb to the disease/condition. Since peppers survive into November in our area, I can usually get production from the replacements.

I too note that it seldom affects jalapeno peppers.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Very interesting, granddad. I've been growing peppers in this plot for a decade, but this is the first time I've had this problem. When you transplant your replacements, what do you do to keep it from happening again?


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Daninthedirt, I don't do anything. Most of the tme the replacements do well. But, they too can succcumb. Once we get past the summer heat, September in our area, the problem usually disappears.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

Well, my jalapenos have bought the farm now too. Squash on the border nearby are fine, and tomatoes, a few yards away, are looking great.

I think I'll clear the area, do some deep digging over the winter, and try something else here next year. I can move eggplants here, and move my peppers around the corner where the eggplants are now.

I'm not sure eggplants are any more resistant to blight, but it's probably time to do some rotation anyway.


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RE: so why are my peppers wilting?

OK, pulled some jalapenos that were wilting, and the white threads of mold on the roots and lower stem are clear. It's blight.


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